Wrist pain from exercise?

Do you suffer from wrist pain or discomfort while doing push ups?

I’ve had a rapid increase in the number of patients coming in for treatment regarding wrist pain resulting from circuit type training. That got me thinking about developing a strategy to help prevent wrist pain from occurring because after all the best form of rehabilitation is a good serve of pre-habilitation. So here are my best three tips to help decrease the likelihood of wrist pain plus two actions to take if your starting to develop wrist pain as a result of exercise.

Tip 1: Ensure correct technique

When we load your wrist/hands into ‘flexion’, think hands in push up position, it essential we share the load throughout the hand rather than loading to one side. I commonly see people loading more to the outside of their hand (little finger side) than compared to the inside. Another technique que to be mindful of is making sure our hands are underneath (or there abouts) our shoulder, this helps optimise the position of the wrist whilst being loaded.

Tip 2: Wrist mobility exercise 1 – The spider-man stretch

Wrist flexibility and mobility is barely ever thought of however having more movement through your wrist can help make push-ups, mountain climbers, front squats and other exercises much more comfortable to complete. This first exercise will help increase wrist flexion (think bringing the back of your hand toward your forearm) thus helping technique of exercises such as push ups, mountain climbers and front/rack squats.
+ Video to come +

Tip 3: Wrist mobility exercise 2 – twist and shout stretch

Another exercise focusing on wrist mobility, this one however focuses on increasing wrist extension. Wrist extension may not directly be incorporated in exercise movements but increasing your extension ability will inevitable help decrease the likelihood of wrist injury. It will also help aid in stretching the wrist extensors which are commonly overused/worked during exercises relying on  grip strength (think chin ups, bent over rows and deadlifts).
+ Video to come +

But what if my wrists are already sore?

If you’re already suffering from some sort of wrist pain, optimising your technique will no doubt help and the two mobility exercises mentioned may help so give them a go. If they do however cause above a 4/10 pain it’s best to seek help from an allied health professional for correct diagnosis and management.
Other tips that may help decrease wrist pain from exercise would be to:

1.       Avoid aggravating activities for 1-2 weeks and then slowly reintroduce them back into your exercise regime. E.g. If you have 6/10 pain when doing pushing, avoid or modify push ups (try doing them on dumbbells/kettlebells) for 7-14 days and then slowly re-introduce push up back into your program.

2.       After the above, progressively load the aggravating exercises keeping your pain felt in the wrist to below a 3-4/10. E.g. Don’t go from doing 3 sets of 8 push ups to 3 sets of 15 push ups, slowly increase the load to the area!

As always if you have any questions please let me know via email – Jamey.beyondfitness@gmail.com

Thanks for reading,
Jamey Pemmelaar (Osteopath)